Lawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent

24-Jan-2020 Intellasia | The Hill | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A GOP lawmaker is requesting the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua to register as a foreign agent.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), in a letter sent Wednesday to Attorney General William Barr, called it “extremely troubling” that Xinhua has not registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), according to the letter obtained by Axios.

The act requires institutions that get foreign government funding or direction to send disclosures to the Department of Justice to make the information publicly available in a database.

The Indiana Republican cited “deep, longstanding ties” between Xinhua and the Chinese Communist Party as reason for concern, adding there is no documentation that the media outlet has registered.

Banks quoted the 2017 annual report from the US-China Security and Economic Review Commission saying, “Xinhua serves some functions of an intelligence agency by gathering information and producing classified reports for the Chinese government.”

The Indiana representative’s letter follows a letter sent to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in 2018 that cited concerns about Chinese-state funded media operating in the US, including Xinhua.

The representative is requesting that the Department of Justice supply him with communications with Xinhua about its status as a foreign agent and any enforcement mechanisms to ensure the company complies with the legislation.

Concerns about foreign interference in US politics has ramped up after Russia interfered in the 2016 US election.


Category: China

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